Hypertherm Powermax30 XP vs. Hypertherm Powermax30 AIR

Hypertherm Powermax30 XP vs. Hypertherm Powermax30 AIR

Andrew Blatner

Hypertherm Powermax plasma cutters are industry-leading in quality, durability, and reliability. The machines are most well-known for their simple setup and operation while still providing the accuracy operators are looking for. Although the Powermax 30 XP and Powermax 30 AIR may seem similar at first glance, there are some important distinctions between the two that you should know before purchasing.

When choosing a plasma cutter, material thickness, desired quality of cuts, and expected amount of use are all key factors that should be taken into consideration in order to provide you with the best overall result. How thick are the materials you will be cutting? Do you intend on cutting for hours at a time, or brief stints throughout the day? What anticipated area of work will you be using the plasma cutting system? For instance, if you do not have access to an air compressor, the Powermax 30 AIR may be the best fit due to the built-in air compressor. Let’s break down the key differences between the two Powermax 30 plasma cutting systems.

Powermax 30 AIR

The Powermax 30 AIR’s most significant feature is the built-in air compressor. Having a built-in air compressor allows the operator to use the machine just about anywhere they desire because there is no need to connect the machine to an external air supply. Simply plugging the machine into an outlet or power source is all that must be done in order to operate the machine. However, a built-in air compressor does mean one thing – the power needed to run the compressor must come from somewhere. Therefore, the Powermax 30 AIR must share some of the power from the internal compressor while cutting.

There are some benefits to working with a system that has an internal compressor.  Internal air compressors will eliminate some of the costs associated with an external compressor. The system still demonstrates superior performance while remaining highly portable for the operator. In terms of the physical differences, the Powermax 30 AIR is slightly larger and heavier than the Powermax 30 XP. Although it is heavier, this cutting system holds the highest power-to-weight ratio compared to competitive models, meaning it offers the most cutting power in the lightest weight design.   

The Powermax 30 AIR comes with a non-shielded torch. The torch is designed with the purpose to conserve air, giving you the ability to insert a smaller air compressor, using less power, if desired. The non-shielded torch design will result in lower arc voltage. The Powermax 30 AIR is able to sever 5/8” thick material at 240 voltage with a cut speed of 20 ipm. This system will not finish the cut quite as fast as the Powermax 30 XP. It is important to note that this is the recommended cutting capacity. Although the Powermax 30 AIR will have no problem cutting through 5/8” thick material, the Powermax 30 XP is your best option if you are regularly cutting through material as thick as 5/8”.

So, what are the major takeaways from the Powermax 30 AIR?  This plasma cutting system will provide you with an internal air compressor, allowing you to work almost anywhere you desire without having to travel with an external compressor. It is important to remember that some of the power will be reduced due to the built-in compressor needing some of the power in order to operate. The Powermax 30 AIR is a fantastic plasma cutting system, so if you are looking for a portable machine that is easy to setup, operate, and use for everyday cutting or welding hobbies, the Powermax 30 AIR is the plasma cutting system for you!

Powermax30 XP

For the most part, the Powermax 30 XP is very similar to the Powermax 30 AIR. Unlike the Powermax 30 AIR, this cutting system does not include a built-in compressor. What is the result of this? Well, without the built-in air compressor, the machine has more power. The machine does not have to share a portion of the power with the internal compressor. As a result of excess power, the system produces more wattage and voltage, producing a longer arc. A longer arc will allow the operator to cut at faster speeds, as well as through thicker material.  So, with more power and faster cutting speeds, how much more efficient is this cutting system? Well, the Powermax 30 XP will produce almost 50% more output wattage than the Powermax 30 AIR. 

The Powermax 30 XP also comes with a set of multiple different consumables, such as drag cut consumables, fine cut consumables, and extended reach consumables, used for those hard to reach spots. The torch itself is also shielded, meaning the operator can drag it on the plate all day long without worrying about damaging the tip. The Powermax 30 XP has the same cutting capacity (5/8”) and cutting speed (20 ipm) as the Powermax 30 AIR at 240 voltage.  This cutting system will serve as a better option than the Powermax 30 AIR if you plan to regularly cut through 5/8” thick material.

Having considered everything, the Powermax 30 XP has to offer, how do I know if it is the right plasma cutting system for me? If you are leaning towards a system that packs slightly more power into a smaller package, then this cutting system will suit you well. If you have access to air on site where you will be working, this machine will provide you with the power needed to complete your everyday cutting tasks in the most efficient manner. So, if you need a plasma cutting system that produces slightly more power and cutting capacity than the Powermax 30 AIR, the Powermax 30 XP plasma cutting system is the perfect fit for you. 

So, Which Plasma Cutting System Is Right For Me?           

Hypertherm offers some of the most durable and reliable plasma cutting systems on the market. The Powermax 30 AIR and Powermax 30 XP are both fantastic plasma cutting systems that will give you the durability, reliability, and long consumable life you are looking for.  Remember to consider your daily workload in order to ensure that you are choosing the best plasma cutting system for your workflow. If you would prefer a plasma system that offers true portability or have interest in using it for at home art/welding hobbies, then the Powermax 30 AIR is the perfect cutting system for you. If you are looking for a plasma cutting system that produces slightly more power and faster cutting speeds, then the Powermax 30 XP is the right cutting system for you.

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